What are the discoveries of Galileo Galilei? Galileo Galilei was an Italian physicist and astronomer whose most famous discovery was that the Earth revolves around the sun. But Galileo was also responsible for other remarkable discoveries in the field of physics and motion. Although he had to deal with the Church’s inquisition because of his work, Galileo continued to create, making paradigm-shifting discoveries that redefined the known laws of the universe.
Earth’s orbit – Galileo Galilei’s discoveries
Shortly after the telescope was invented in Holland, Galileo created his own from makeshift eyeglass lenses. He learned to create increasingly powerful telescopes, which he eventually used to observe the solar phases of the planet Venus. After noticing that Venus went through phases similar to those of the Moon, he concluded that the sun must be the central point of the solar system and not the Earth as previously assumed.
The Pendulum Principle
When he was only 20 years old, Galileo went to a large cathedral and noticed that the swinging of the lamps overhead took exactly the same time for all of them to swing, although the swinging distance got progressively shorter. This pendulum principle made Galileo famous and was eventually used to regulate clocks. The law says that a pendulum will always take the same amount of time to complete a swing since there is always the same amount of kinetic energy in the pendulum, it is simply transferred from one direction to the other.
The law of falling bodies
This law states that all objects will fall with the same velocity, taking into account relatively small differences in aerodynamic and environmental conditions. Galileo demonstrated his theory by climbing to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and dropping objects of different weights down one side. All the objects reached the ground at the same time. Contrary to conventional belief as established by Aristotle, the speed of falling heavy objects was not proportional to their weight.
Galileo made several astronomical discoveries that people today simply accept as common sense. He discovered that the surface of the moon is rough and not uniform, rather than smooth as people thought, and in 1610 he discovered 4 moons revolving around Jupiter. More important than any of these findings was his discovery that there are many more stars than are visible to the eye, a claim that came as a surprise to the scientific community of the time.
The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
For centuries, natural philosophy – which at the time encompassed fields such as physics and astronomy – was discussed and theorized from a qualitative point of view. Galileo not only discovered the specific laws of the universe but also reformed the qualitative point of view and established mathematics as the language of scientific discovery. He pioneered the scientific method and gave rise to the modern practice of experimentation and calculated laws of nature. This resulted in revelations that many of the laws of the Greek philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, were incorrect.